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tv   Mc Laughlin Group  PBS  March 23, 2013 12:30pm-1:00pm PDT

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from washington, "the mclaughlin group," the american original. for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk. the mclaughlin group is brought to you by siemens. across the country we're we're
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building them to last. siemens, answers. issue one. u.s. mideast reset. >> make no mistake, those who adhere to the ideology of rejecting israel's right to exist they might as well reject the earth below them or the sky above them because israel is not going anywhere. and today i want to tell you, particularly the young people, so that there's no mistake here, so long as there is a united states of america, "atem lo levad." [ applause ] >> you are notly alone. >> president barack obama addressed a young audience this week in israel's capital, jerusalem, at its convention center on his first presidential visit to israel. the speech was up-beat, even
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rousing, but the language measured, even guarded, with state department edits poking through. >> peace is possible. it is possible. [ applause ] >> i'm not saying it's guaranteed. i can't even say that it is more likely than not, but it is possible. i know there must be something exhausting about endless talks about talks and daily controversies and just the grinding status quo. i'm sure there's a temptation just to say, ah, enough, let me focus on my small corner of the world and my family and my job and what i can control. but it's possible. negotiations will be necessary but there's a little secret about where they must lead.
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twfor two peoples. two states for two peoples. >> question, was president obama's speech to college students in israel and the trip itself designed to reset u.s.- israeli relations that were badly strained and president obama's first term? >> yeah, john, and you're right, it's an israeli-u.s. reset, and i think it was a great success. i think the president's speech was outstanding to the young israelis. i think it was full of realism and idealism. what he has done, he has walked away from the idea that israel has to stop building settlements, and as a reality there's not going to be any palestinian state as long as you have the president meeting with netanyahu, lieberman, and those folks in power, but i do think there's been a reset in relations with israel. but john with the whole middle east, look at muslim brotherhood in egypt, hamas,
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gaza, the jordanian king is in trouble, syria is about to collapse in anarchy. you've got hezbollah in lebanon. i think that whole area is moving the other direction. if i were the president of the united states, i believe what he wants to do and ought to do is get out of dodge. >> eleanor. >> i can't remember a time in my lifetime when there was a peaceful status quo in the middle east. it's always been a cauldron. i think the president is right to give a boost to the two- state solution. you're right that he basically is saying that the israelis don't have to stop building settlements in order for the talks to proceed. but his concept is that the pressure will bubble up from these young populations, and that if he can get the peace talks going and he can establish boundaries, that the settlement issue will be solved from that. and i think it is a new approach. he didn't go over there with the peace plan in his pocket, but i think he certainly has revived a sense that peace is
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possible, which is his word, and he has established, of course, cemented the bond with israel. >> was the u.s. relationship with israel strained in the first term? >> oh, absolutely. i think that there were -- there was idence that the president was giving short shrift to israel, many occasions where he wasn't talking to netanyahu when he should have been in person. more importantly, i think about the speech, he was talking about the israelis but he was talking beyond them about generally the need for peace in the area. it wasn't just a pro-israel speech. he didn't say the settlements were a great thing. he said they don't promote peace. he didn't say you have to get out he said they're not helping. i think he was talking not just to the israelis. i don't think it was just a total pro-israel trip. >> was anybody offended by his remarks? >> i'm sure that some of the palestinians were offended
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because they liked the atmosphere in which they would have perceived tension between the united states and israel. the real question is now will there a dialogue going between the israelis and the palestinians on the usual issues, and the palestinians, they refused, and i can say that with direct personal knowledge. whether this changes or not, we're going to find out. there are new players, particularly john kerry involved, and i think he will be very effective in that part of the world. >> has it been sufficiently noted that the president met with abu abbas, or sometimes called abu massa, the head of the palestinians? >> there's no problem. >> while he was there on this trip. >> well, however he meets with him, how many times -- >> it has been underplayed in the u.s. press? >> i'm sure it has been underplayed. >> was it a brief meeting? do you know anything about it? >> i do not. it was a very brief meeting but i don't know anything about it. i do know what the reaction was
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within the leadership of israel and i think they felt we finally have an environment in which we can talk constructively. >> talking about a two-state solution, there's some talk over there about a one-state solution. read the economist. one-state solution is a bad idea, correct? >> yes, i think it's a bad idea. >> should be two states. >> israel is never going to go for a one-state solution because they would soon be outnumbered by the palestinians. >> they will be outnumbered by the palestinians regardless of whether it's one state or not. >> they will not. >> eventually you would have a birks-national state. >> talking about -- >> well, the palestinians have the higher rate of population growth. >> correct. >> the theory is at some point they will overtake. >> 30 years. >> no, it's very close. >> there are five and a half pu barry and b b bromance. from the moment the president arrived at the airport in tel aviv there were smiles and
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jokes all around shared between president obama and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. the two leaders held a press conference outside the prime minister's jerusalem residence where he and at the present time bantered with the press until it got boring. >> i want to express a special thanks to sarah as well as your two sons for their warmth and hospitality. it was wonderful to see them. they are -- i did inform the prime minister that they are very good looking young men who clearly got their looks from their mother. [ laughter ] >> well, i can say the same of your daughters. >> this is true. you see how the young lady from channel one, she had one question. she was very well behaved, chuck. >> i've got one for you. >> these are matted questions. >> i get four questions, right? >> look, this is not a kosher
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question, but don't hog it. >> question, what explains the public display of bon ame? >> before the elections i think netanyahu thought he was in charge and he was rooting for mitt romney, lots of talk about potential attack on iran. the president has since won convincingly, netanyahu has lost some ground at home. i thought reading the pool reports that come back, netanyahu was complaining about all of the challenges he's facing putting together his new government and obama basically said, well, talk to me about it. look what my problems on capitol hill are, and netanyahu said, yeah, but we have more moving parts over here, parts in our country don't move at all, that's the problem. >> i had my doubts about whether or not he was going to shift netanyahu's opinion on him. i felt that from the -- remember that photototof
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netanyahu and obama sitting on the couch in the white house? >> the oval office. >> do you remember that? >> sure. being lectured. >> the whole body posture and so forth. but some of the video emerging from this trip is so authentic and even the words of netanyahu describing obama and what he means, what obama means to him in this relationship. a true friend. it was very authentic. >> yes, i think it was. and i think they did have, for the first time really, the kind of environment and personal contact within that environment that made this all possible, and they all both know, and certainly they know how important a good personal relationship is on an issue as complicated and as difficult here. that is an essential way to be able to resolve it. >> john, let's get beyond -- >> do you give the obamas credit for working it out that way? >> yes, i think they both deserve credit but i think the president made a major step
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forward. a, in the visit. he had not visited before, b, in terms of the tone, and c -- >> you know netanyahu well. netanyahu has some rough edges. obama's rough edges he can pretty carefully conceal. >> john, why don't we talk about something serious? >> what? >> talk about something serious. >> what do you mean? psychology plays a big role in this. >> the question is, is obama going to be persuaded to go into syria, and can netanyahu convince him to move militarily against iran. that's the big stuff. the bon ame -- >> if they get the wrong drift in the level. >> the bon ame is to get to the big stuff. >> i think that pat is exactly right, how far obama is willing to go to put his money where his mouth is on helping israel. at this point that all looked well and good but i don't see him going far enough. >> eleanor, quickly. >> this is a gap between them on syria. i think netanyahu is just as
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wary of entering syria, but it did not prevent the president from going over netanyahu's head and talking to the israeli public, and there is a gap between what the people want and what the leaders want. >> here's what i want to know about syria, is do they have chemical weapons. >> they've got 'em. >> did you see that intriguing report, for a reporter who has been over there for years, reported on this for the independent, which i believe is an english newspaper, now available on your computer, who says they do not have -- they do not have any chemical weapons. >> the united nations is investigating. >> you want to speak to them? >> i want to speak to one very important issue here which is, when the president said our policy is to prevent iran from having nuclear weapons, the word prevention is really critical. it's a difference between prevention and containment. he publicly stated that. >> when i read that transcript
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-- >> but mort, there's a different -- >> you're saying there's no assertion on netanyahu's part or either part in the syrian conversations, no discussion of weapons of chemical origin? >> i'm sure there was but that's a separate issue. it never became public. >> why would that be a separate issue? >> because syria is different than iran. >> the weapons were supposed to have moved in to help hamas and israel struck. >> i will not find out about that until i go there, but the issue -- yes, i know exactly. the key issue here and the president stated and his people know if the president states that he cannot walk away from that commitment. >> you said -- wait a minute. you said prevent -- our position is we're going to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons. netanyahu's is prevent them from getting a nuclear weapons capability, which they have right now. there's a dramatic disagreement and there's an effort to push the american position to b b's
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position, in which case nuclear weapons capability. >> i want to see the exact wording because i think it issue two. gun ban blow-back. >> gabby giffords deserves a vote. the families of newtown deserve a vote. the families of aurora deserve a vote. the families of oak creek and tucson and blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote. >> in his state of the union address, president obama made an impassioned plea for gun control. >> they deserve -- >> this was backed up by a white house task force headed by vice president joe biden. biden's goal was to pressure congress to vote yes or no on full gun control legislation.
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this includes senator dianne feinstein's proposed ban on 157 models of assault-style weapons. this week senate majority leader harry reid stripped feinstein's gun ban from the bill for strategic reasons, so that the senate will take it up next month. the pared down legislation focuses on school safety and gun trafficking. at new york's city hall mayor michael bloomberg who heads mayors against illegal guns implored congress for an amendment to the stripped down legislation. >> the only question is whether congress will have the courage to do the right thingor whether they will allow more innocent people, including innocent children, to be gunned down. >> the mayor was flanked by vice president joe biden who reminded the audience that congress has passed a been on assault weapons in 1994 and
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could do so again. the vice president also turned to a mother of one of the schoolteachers killed in the newtown, connecticut massacre. >> you know, it's time for the political establishment to show the courage your daughter showed. it must be awful being in public office and concluding that even though you might believe you should take action, that you can't take action because of a political consequence you face. what a heck of a way to make a living. i mean that sincerely. what a heck of a way to have to act. >> question. what made harry reid decide to drop dianne feinstein's assault weapon ban from the gun control bill? you following me? >> yes. he never intended cost in there. i don't understand why everyone is interpreting this as
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shocking development there. the very beginning majority leader reid said that he wasn't committed to putting this in the bill because he knew it had no chance of passing in the house. >> with it in the bill. >> correct. >> if he took it out of the bill, then it would have a chance to pass. >> it could sink the whole bill. >> so he took it out. >> there's only so far that congress can go. >> i want to know what harry reid's intention was to. get the bill passed, right? >> to get a gun violence bill passed. didn't necessarily have to have the assault weapon ban or the gun magazine limits in it. >> which was feinstein's context. he said if that'sen there, it would kill the bill. >> that's not what's going on here. what's happening is if he were to put all that together in one package it would force some very politically dangerous votes for vulnerable democrats who are up for reelection in 20 14. key lose his majority but the democratic senate could become the republican senate, and that is what this is about. >> that was his driving
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motivation to preserve the democratic senate in a democratic state. >> secondly, he never had any intention of putting it in the bill, so it's a farce to say that. >> he didn't do it because he disagree weed the content. >> he's a gun owner from nevada. >> let me explain it to you. he did it for this reason. if he put up the bill and forced his own conservative senators to vote for it, democrats that would hurt them. if they voted against him it would hurt them with their base. if it got over to the house it's not going through anyway, so he spares his democrats a vote which is lose-lose either way. >> senator feinstein is going to press for a vote is and it is going to be an amendment. >> good. >> there probably will be a vote but over the next two weeks when they're home on their easter break there are grass roots groups that have grown up, mothers against guns who are going to put some pressure on these red state democratic senators and maybe there's a small possibility
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that they will understand there are votes on the other side. it's not only the nra. >> okay, media reaction. >> take a look at how the new york daily news on its cover reacted to the stripping of the assault weapons ban from the senate bill. the pictures you see are the 20 children who were killed by one gunman at newtown, connecticut december. >> mort, do you want to speak to this? this is your newspaper. >> yes, it is. >> was that friday's reaction? >> we got more reaction to that story, both in new york city and nationally than of any front page we've had in several years. had a huge effect, and i think there is a lot of resentment in the country that this bill has been denuted of that one thing that harry reid took out. >> explain the cover. there were pictures of the slain children. >> there were 20 pictures of that, and basically it said,
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shame on us. and us was u-s, sought meant the united states, and that was the whole point that this could not get passed by a serious and responsible body. >> they dropped the high- capacity magazines as well as the assault weapons ban, both of them. >> well, congratulations, mort, on doing that. >> thank you very much. the editor deserved the credit and it was a great front page for a paper like the new york daily news. >> it spoke volumes. >> it really did. it had a national impact. just extraordinary. >> my fear is that whole episode has begun a slow evaporation in its memory. i mean, it has to be called up with the flux of forces in our society, but that -- the way you portrayed it becomes a feature of helping the recollection. >> it will be repeated over and over because it just captured what this was all about. >> what beautiful children. >> 20 beautiful children were killed. would it never have happened if they didn't have the ability to fire that many bullets out of
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that gun. >> politically, it's all about intensity and the intensity has always been on the side of the gun owners and the n rial. since newtown for the first time intensity that spells on the part of -- >> 2% -- >> you passed the law. there's a quarter of a million guns still out there. how does this save any lives? what about the video games that kid was obsessed with? what about the 10-year-olds playing those games every day? >> look at the movies. they use those guns. >> you mean portrayed aggression. >> it's just so sawed. >> okay -- >> why not? why can't we fix those things? >> what we're about here, if you go to the movies and you see it, okay. it doesn't mean you have a gun. the whole purpose is to eliminate the guns that in fact cause these. >> do you think -- >> what about the guns already out there? >> do you think there should be perhaps a redistribution or
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also something else included besides withdrawing hardware, states. >> absolutely. >> background checks. >> background checks but also focusing on comprehensive measur issue three. going for broke. >> if your dreams of a golden retirement age seem to have become transmuted into tin by the global economic crisis, you are not alone. a new report shows that only only hirds of american workers two-thirds of from three out of four in 2009. more than half say they have saved less than $25,000. five years ago, slightly less than half had so little saved for retirement. worse yet, only 3% of employees today have traditional
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pensions, down from 28% in 1979. the upshot? 28% of americans have no confidence they will be able to retire comfortably, making the squeeze worse even those with employer-provided pensions could be in trouble. increased longevity forced lower interest rates on investments mean corporate pension plans double squeeze and possible insolvency. question. will this bad news about retirement saving put increased pressure on social security, and if so what are the implications for the ongoing federal budget debate? i ask you, susan ferrechio. >> this is one of the most important issues of our time and it's not getting any attention. people have less money as they get interest old age which means they are going to be more dependent on a government whose entitlement programs are not sustainable and no one in the white house is willing to do
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anything about it. people are living longer. no one is willing to raise the age of eligibility for medicare and social security or do anything at all because it's too devastating politically so the question is, what are people going to live off of when they're old? >> this isn't the fault of the people who want to protect social security. this is the fault -- >> how are you protecting it by killing it? >> -- of a corporate business establishment and a republican party that is supposedly against redistribution of wealth but through their policies have managed to redistribute wealth, all to the to. we've had the 401(k)'king of america so many people have watched those sums go down, and they're very dependent on social security. so those programs have to be protect. >> john, the baby boomers are retiring today at a rate of 10,000 every single day. 3.65 million. >> what's the maximum age? >> at 65, they reach 65 at 10,000 a day. susan is exactly right, though.
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i think this is going to put tremendous pressure against any reform of social securities in terms of changing the cpi, all the rest of it. my own -- and also same thing with medicare. my guess is the democratic party is going to dig in its heels against any kind of reform of the entitlements, and i wonder if the republican party has the strength to do it or whether it is even going to be done in which case we are really headed for major crisis. >> the money is not going into retirement, not going into consumer spending. where is the money going? >> the money isn't there. there's not enough money. >> what about rising prices? >> inflation, we've had a very low level of inflation, because the economy has been so weak. >> what about food and gas prices? >> one thing is the defined benefit lifetime retirement program. those are gone. so you are not -- you just don't have enough money if you're retiring to live off of it, and the government is now broke, in effect. they can't step in and make
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this up. >> how much are they paying down in the government debt? >> well, the government debt is actually not going down, if i may say. so we are going to have a deficit this year of a trillion 300 billion dollars which is $25 billion a week. it's the worst deficit that we've had, and nobody knows. >> social security is easy to fix. you lift the cap right now if predictions. pat. >> immigration reform passes the house. republicans kill it in the senate. >> eleanor. >>next state to legalize gay marriage. >> what state? >> illinois. >> susan. >> immigration reform is going to run into big trouble in congress. >> really. mort. >> what i think the economy is going to remain i predict that president abi of japan trying to revitalize his economy by loosening its grip on inflation will overshoot. he will go into debt, it will go into debt
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